Tymoshenko wins Oleska Himyk award

May 29, 2012

OK, before I start many of you will be asking who or what is Oleska Himyk.

Well, he was a Ukrainian engineer back in the darker days of the USSR and regularly in and out of the gulag for insisting on speaking Ukrainian much to the annoyance of the Soviet authorities, and can rightly be classed as a Ukrainian dissident.

In 1978 near the tomb of Taras Shevchenko, Himyk self immolated to mark the 60th anniversary of one of Ukraine’s attempts at being independent.  An act that has imortalised Himyk with the nationalists naturally.

Not a very well known story and one that certainly didn’t get the attention in the west that Jan Palach, the Czech student, got when he did the same thing 9 years previously in the centre of Prague.

Anyway, there is in existence the Oleska Himyk Foundation which has recently bestowed its 2012 Award to Ms Tymoshenko – at least according to her website.

The award has been given for Ms Tymoshenko for “selflessly upholding the interests of the Ukrainian nation and the Ukrainian State, defending democratic values and Ukraine’s European choice in difficult conditions of political and criminal persecution and imprisonment.” 

What a wonderfully worded paragraph, however I am struggling to find any consistency in the personal actions of Ms Tymoshenko past or present that actually add substance to those words.

At what point has she ever been selfless in anything she has done?  What exactly did she achieve when prime minister that was in the interest of Ukraine and the Ukrainian State other than winning one personal vendetta with Dimitry Firtash to have him removed as the official gas intermediary between Russia and Ukraine because he had the gall to take  the place of her United Energy System Ukraine company’s place at that trough?

As far as my personal experience of Ukraine goes, the best time had here was in 2007 when there was no sitting government for 6 months and neither Yanukovych or Tymoshenko had any power because Yushenko had potted them both as Prime Minister within the space of 12 months and dissolved parliament.

Defending democratic values?  This is the same woman who in 2009 was voted the 3rd most unfriendly personality to the media by the media, refused to accept defeat in 2010, whose party voted with the current majority to change the election laws, thus in effect barring most parties from gaining seats in the RADA through supporting the now in place 5% threshold?

This is the same Tymoshenko that a diplomat whose current western government sits in the same EPP umbrella party within the EU as her own, said to me “She is not the champion of democracy she pretends to be”.  Most people in Ukraine are more than aware of that fact, but it is nice to know those in the foreign diplomatic corps are also.

Are we talking about the same Tymoshenko who managed to reform precisely nothing when leading the government, to align Ukraine with European legislative norms?  It surely can’t be the same Tymoshenko who was prime minister when the cost of corruption absolutely skyrocketed under her tenure in every single walk of life.

Politically persecuted is a matter of opinion (although I believe she has been to some extent) however, I like all other foreign politicians, diplomats and commentators stop a long way short of saying she is actually innocent.  Nobody with any sense has dared say she is actually innocent because the gas price Ukraine pays to Russia thanks to her deal speaks for itself, and no right-minded government would have supported such a deal.

Many, myself included, believe that she certainly had a conflict of interests when negotiating the 2009 gas deal, considering her UESU company had a private debt to Russia of $405 million (and still does) and was therefore entirely the wrong person to get involved.  What was wrong with the Energy Minister or even the Foreign Minister negotiating with Russia and keeping Ms Tymoshenko and her private gas debt to Russia out of the mix in 2009?

Can somebody please provide some solid evidence and incidents that actually provide some substance to the wording quoted above relating to the Oleska Himyk award.  Even though it reads nicely and I don’t think Ms Tymoshenko should be in prison (even if guilty there are alternatives to prison), in the decade I have lived in Ukraine and followed Ukrainian politics I can recall no selfless acts by Ms Tymoshenko whatsoever.

I’m afraid plagiarising Vaclav Havel works from a prison cell does not count towards selfless acts even if it does encourage people to read Havel.

In fact, I can recall no selfless acts by any Ukrainian politician during the decade I have been in Ukraine and thus any award given to any Ukrainian politician with the word “selfless” contained within the preamble is guaranteed to  draw my ire.

Anyway, congratulations to Ms Tymoshenko for winning this award, if nothing else it keeps her plight in the domestic spotlight fleetingly.

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